She stared at her tear-stained face in the dirty mirror over the cracked sink. She noticed the black streaks of her runny mascara, her smeared eye shadow, and the faint hint that she was, earlier this evening before her world fell apart around her, wearing pink lipstick.
Bright pink lipstick. When she got dressed earlier that evening, she’d chosen bright pink because she thought it was fun, and perfect for so special an occasion.
Now, the bright pink on her lips looked silly, almost clownish, and she was ashamed that she was so excited about such an ugly color.
Her hair, which was just hours ago perfectly styled, hung in wet, limp clumps around her face. She’d spent hours in the salon AND $160 of the money she’d set aside for next month’s rent. How could she be so foolish to gamble her housing on a man who didn’t deserve her? Hindsight cruelly showed her in plain sight everything that she missed just hours ago.
If only she had known...
She looked down at the dress she wore. It was small, tight, clinging to her body, accentuating the bulges and rolls that she usually tried desperately to conceal under baggy clothes. The sexiness she felt earlier was replaced with a devastating self-consciousness that made her wish she could hide in the dirty bathroom until everyone else went home.
She knew better.
She knew that, at some point, she would have to leave the bathroom, and walk past the accusing eyes, the whispered jeers, and the stifled laughter of those who watched her make a fool of herself.
She was so embarrassed. How could she ever face them again?
Just the thought of their accusing eyes sent her running into the small stall behind her, the contents of her stomach erupting into the stained bowl.
How could she be so stupid?
Her stomach emptied, she flushed the toilet with the toe of her shoe, walked slowly to the same cracked sink, rinsed her mouth out.
As she dried her face with the cheap toilet paper (because there were no more paper towels), she caught her reflection in the mirror again.
She looked as foolish as she felt. She crumbled to the filthy, pink tiled floor of the small, grungy restroom and wept. From the pit of her stomach, from the depth of her soul, she cried. She cried because she was naïve enough to believe that things would be different this time. She cried because she wanted so desperately to believe that she was finally small enough, pretty enough, smart enough to make him love her. She cried because she felt her heart shatter into a million pieces, and she knew that nothing would ever fix it. She cried because she knew that life as she’d known it was over, and she would never be the same.
Mostly, she cried because, despite everything that he’d done to her, despite how he’d made a fool of her, despite how he made her feel like something he’d scrape off the bottom of his shoe against the side of the curb, despite how he laughed at her, how dumb he made her feel, despite the fact that, at his hand, she felt like absolutely nothing, she couldn’t stop loving him. And she knew that there was nothing he could do that was so bad that her heart would become untangled from his.
She cried until she had no tears left.
She kicked off her heels and stood, once again, to face her reflection. This time, she smiled a crooked smile right before she smashed her fist into the squalid glass, sending blood and pieces of the mirror flying everywhere. She bent down, chose a jagged piece of glass from the floor, and walked calmly into the small stall. She locked the door behind her and sat on the floor next to the soiled toilet.
She felt immense, immediate relief as the cold glass cut into her wrist, sending warm blood spilling all over her legs, soaking the fabric of her dress, and onto the grungy bathroom floor. She sighed. She sat and waited until the bright florescent lights overhead began to dim, and, right before she was consumed by the darkness, she whispered,
“At least now, I am finally free of him.”
The glass she was holding fell with a small clang to the bathroom floor.
Sometimes I write things that are too short to publish. I needed someplace to put them. Here seems like just as good a place as any...